Cricket Indian Premier League Prediction
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Lucknow Super Giants - Match Preview
🏏 20 May 2023 - 18:00 GMT +0
Despite winning three of their last four matches after a six-wicket victory away in Chennai, it seems that Kolkata Knight Riders have left their charge far too late. A negative Net Run Rate (NRR; -0.256), inferior to the three franchises ahead of them also fighting for fourth place, is going to be an enormous disadvantage in a log-jammed table even if they can defeat playoff certainty Lucknow Super Giants in their final league stage game of the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL).
In fact, their fate is well and truly out of their hands now and all that Nitish Rana’s team can hope for is an enormous win here for a run rate boost in the case that their highest possible total of 14 points brings NRR calculations into play. They’re also going to need the incredible fortune of Mumbai, Rajasthan and Royal Challengers Bangalore all losing their final games even before considering NRR!
So all they can do is win and hope for the best, and whilst being at home in front of a sold-out Eden Gardens should in theory play into their hands, Kolkata have a 2-4 home record this season. They’ve already lost to Gujarat and Chennai as well as Rajasthan - one of their direct competitors for fourth place - and their bowlers bear a lot of responsibility for their poor results.
Ironically, Kolkata has the worst collective bowling average (37.79) and third-worst economy rate (10.09rpo) of all the teams to have stepped out onto Eden Gardens this season and have sorely lacked an incisive power play fast bowlers such as Trent Boult, Mohammed Shami or Mohammed Siraj. Ageing veteran Andre Russell is their leading fast bowling wicket-taker during the first six overs (four at 12.16rpo), second only to Varun Chakravarthy (five at 8.13rpo) among all bowlers.
They’ll be hoping that Sunil Narine, who returned their best bowling figures in three of their last five matches, can continue his strong form at home after four wicketless efforts at Eden Gardens this season. Similarly, his colleague Suyash Sharma has just one multiple-wicket haul in Kolkata (3/30 against RCB). There have been some admirable efforts with the bat at home - Rinku Singh, Nitish Rana and Rahmanullah Gurbaz all have two half-centuries at Eden Gardens in 2023 - but Venkatesh Iyer has struggled terribly with just 112 runs from six home innings and just one score of better than 21.
First innings scores have been reduced at Eden Gardens throughout the tournament, with three of 200+ followed by a trio of totals under 180, as the pitches near the end of their lifespan. Low-scoring grinds have been the tale of Lucknow’s season owing to some slow pitches at their own home venue, and they too have struggled with the new ball after Mark Wood’s departure and Avesh Khan failing to back up his wonderful 2022.
Mohsin Khan, LSG’s second-leading wicket-taker from last season, returned in time to find some good form ahead of their playoff campaign in remarkable circumstances. Having recovered from a shoulder injury so serious he almost needed a hand amputation, Mohsin defended 11 runs off the final over (with ease) in a home win against Mumbai the day after his father was discharged from an intensive care unit. In fact, he went for just 13 runs from two ‘death’ overs in that game, which should be an enormous confidence boost after an emotionally draining period.
Lucknow has plenty to play for here with a top-two spot on the line that gives them an all-important double chance in the finals, and after winning both H2Hs last year, they should come into this game with an aura of authority. They have some excellent away cricket under their belt, winning four of their last five games away from home, including a very strong batting run rate of 9.93rpo outside of Lucknow.
⚡ Players to watch: Rinku Singh has risen to prominence with some superb death overs batting this year, with Indian legend Harbhajan Singh even demanding he is introduced into the national team setup with Yashasvi Jaiswal. Rinku has amassed more than 200 runs at Eden Gardens this year, being dismissed in just three of his six innings, though ironically, his two unbeaten half-centuries were both in losses.
Quinton de Kock posted scores of 50 and 140* in his two digs against Kolkata last year, which could help drag him out of a historic rut at Eden Gardens that saw him accumulate only 27 runs from four innings as a visiting batter.
📋 Stat attack: The average first innings score at Eden Gardens this year is 196, with all three scores of 180+ being winning ones.
- Kolkata has a 70% win rate at Eden Gardens when chasing, compared with less than 49% when batting first.
- The last five games at Eden Gardens were won by the team with the highest opening partnership.
- The pre-match outsider has won ten of Lucknow’s 12 completed games this season, whilst favourites have a win rate of just 31% in Kolkata’s matches.
- The Knight Riders have posted the highest opening partnership just twice in 2023, and the most powerplay runs also on only two occasions.
- Shardul Thakur has dismissed Nicholas Pooran four times from just 15 balls bowled in T20s!
- Thakur also has career figures of 2/20 from his 13 balls bowled to Marcus Stoinis in the T20s.
- Sunil Narine has historically struggled against his younger counterpart Pooran, picking up two H2H wickets from 15 overs (2/114).
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